• Gain experience and research skills in field biology and applied conservation under the supervision of professionals in the field

  • Apply your skills to on-the-ground biodiversity conservation and sustainable development projects, as well as independent research

Internships in the Peruvian Amazon

Our Internship Programs are designed to provide individuals—students, early-career or aspiring scientists, and/or those with a deeper interest in tropical biology or conservation—with the chance to learn through direct, hands-on engagement in basic scientific research and applied conservation projects spanning our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture.

 

Each of our three Internship Programs share a common academic structure that includes an exploration of topics in tropical biology and conservation through lectures, readings in the primary scientific literature, and through guided discussions and, of course, in-depth independent study. Scroll down to learn more about these exciting opportunities!

What Our Interns are Saying

"I expected to learn a lot about the Amazon—and I did—but I also learned about myself, people, and the world. Coming here has altered my world view in a positive way."

-Maddy Stauder

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, posing with one of her experimental artificial nest boxes

"Even though there was a fair share of struggles when I realized my limitations, the last three months has been a great experience for me. I mean, how can you cross the line if you don’t know where it is?"

"I learned to be creative in many ways. Manual work, constructing traps to catch a tiny fraction of the rich wildlife. Scientific knowledge, putting together information from the literature. All surrounded by—submerged into—this exotic diversity."

-Zephyr Dang

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, gathering data in one of the ASA's agroforestry plots at Finca Las Piedras

-Tobias Süess

Academic Quarter Internship, Summer 2017, shown with a drift fence used to sample herps (reptiles and amphibians)

3 Different Opportunities:

  • 4 Weeks

  • Learn & contribute through hands-on activities in the field

  • 8 Weeks

  • Develop and implement a supervised Independent Research Project

  • 12 Weeks

  • In-depth Independent Research, excellent thesis opportunity 

3. Academic

Quarter Internship

2. Advanced

Sustainability Internship

1. Introduction to Sustainability Internship

 

2018 Dates, Deadlines, & Fees

Internship Program

Introduction to

Sustainability

Advanced

Sustainability

Academic

Quarter

Duration

4 weeks

8 weeks

12 weeks

$325

Fee/week

$275

$250

Total Fees

$1,300

$2,200

$3,000

Session Dates

Session I

Apr 2 - Apr 27

Apr 2 - May 25

Apr 2 - Jun 22

Session II

Apr 30 - May 25

Apr 30 - Jun 22

Apr 30 - Jul 20

Session III

May 28 - Jun 22

May 28 - Jul 20

May 28 - Aug 17

Session IV

Jun 25 - Jul 20

Jun 25 - Aug 17

Jun 25 - Sep 14

Session V

Jul 23 - Aug 17

Jul 23 - Sep 14

Sep 17 - Dec 7

Session VI

Aug 20 - Sep 14

Aug 20 - Oct 12

--

Session VII

Sep 17 - Oct 12

Sep 17 - Nov 9

--

Session VIII

Oct 15 - Nov 9

Oct 15 - Dec 7

--

Session IX

Nov 12 - Dec 7

--

--

Application & Payment Deadlines

Session I

Mar 9

Mar 9

Mar 9

Session II

Apr 6

Apr 6

Apr 6

Session III

May 4

May 4

May 4

Session IV

Jun 1

Jun 1

Jun 1

Session V

Jun 29

Jun 29

Aug 24

Session VI

Jul 27

Jul 27

--

Session VII

Aug 24

Aug 24

--

Session VIII

Sep 21

Sep 21

--

Session IX

October 19

--

--

*Program fees include room, board, pick up from the airport, and supervision by ASA faculty and staff. Fees DO not cover international and local flights, and travel & health insurance. An application fee of $150 is due after registering for the Internship Program, which is non-refundable. Please read our Cancellation Policy, as well as our Terms and Conditions before making a payment. You will be given payment options upon completion of the Application Form (available here).

Faculty and Staff

Internships are overseen by our expert faculty and staff. Our Academic Supervisor is Dr. Geoff Gallice, who has 10+ years of experience working as a research scientist and conservationist in the Neotropics. Support is also provided by our Academic Programs Coordinator, our various project managers, and our team of resident naturalists.

Skills Developed by Interns

All programs:

  • Training in basic field research skills, including off-trail navigation and use of GPS and GIS, techniques used in studies of tropical biodiversity, ecology, and conservation (e.g., experimental design, data collection and management, forest inventory plots, tree climbing and canopy access, wildlife and insect survey methods, camera trapping, etc.)

  • Identification of major Amazonian plant and animal groups (e.g., trees, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects and other invertebrates)

  • Sustainable tropical agriculture methods and practices

  • Weekly assigned readings on topics covering tropical biology, sustainable development, and conservation

  • Guided reading discussions from the primary literature

Advanced & Academic Quarter programs:

  • Advanced field research methodology through in-depth Independent Research Project

Example Intern Activities

Biological monitoring

  • Butterfly ecology, evolution, & natural history – participate in an ongoing, long-term study to understand butterfly diversity and biology, including butterfly collecting and rearing for host plant records

  • Biological inventories – insects, birds, mammals, trees/plants

  • Plant phenology (fruiting and flowering of select trees and plants) – to monitor changes over time in a changing climate

  • Artificial macaw nest boxes – use and occupancy 

 

Sustainable agriculture

  • Reforestation with native cacao – the plant from which chocolate is made is also a promising, biodiversity-friendly alternative to unsustainable agriculture in our region

  • Experimental agricultural plots (e.g., to test effects of composting, biochar, & other organic fertilizers, intercropping, integrated pest management, etc.

  • Shade house and tree nursery management practices

  • Native food forest monitoring – a future forest of native species with food, building, and/or medicinal uses

Independent Research Project

Overview

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Advanced Sustainability and Academic Quarter (8 & 12 week) internship programs will have the added opportunity to develop an independent research project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. This will allow interns to build upon what they have learned at the beginning of the program and apply it to a project in an area that is novel or interesting to them. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics.

Successful past projects

 

  • Wild cacao (Theobroma cacao) survey and mapping at Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru – Zephyr Dang, September 2017

  • Herpetofaunal diversity and abundances change from abandoned agricultural areas over edge habitat to terra firma forest in the Amazon – Tobias Süess, September 2017

  • A Scarlet macaw nesting box built for their conservation at Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon – Maddy Stauder, September 2017

  • An Estimation of Carbon in the Living Above Ground Biomass of Finca las Piedras – Laura Coomber, September 2017

  • Assessing the sustainability of local farming practices in the vicinity of Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru – Joao Vilca, October 2017

  • Discerning diurnal roost preferences of cavity roosting Neotropical bats for the purpose of designing successful artificial bat roosts – Angela Brierly, August 2017

Read more about these past intern projects and possible future internship research topics here.

Traps allow us to sample butterflies and other rain forest insects that are otherwise hard to find. With more than 1,300 known butterfly species, Peru's Madre de Dios region offers a limitless variety of possibilities for the study of biodiversity. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Map of the field site in southeastern Peru.

Tree climbing allows researchers to safely access the top reaches of the rain forest canopy, and is one of many skills that interns will gain in Peru. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Morpho menalaus, one of more than a thousand butterfly species found in our region. Photo: Aaron Pomerantz

Aerial view of Finca Las Piedras. Photo: Geoff Gallice

Program Location: Finca Las Piedras, Madre de Dios, Peru

Accommodations: Shared room/dormitory

Work Schedule: Monday thru Friaday, 8 hrs/day

Meeting Location: Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Requirements

Overview

Program Details

An academic background or strong interest in biology, ecology, agriculture, or conservation is highly recommended for all interns. We do not offer academic credit through our organization, but we are happy to sign documents for credit from your home institution. All instruction at the field site is in English. Although Spanish is not required, basic skills will be very useful.

1. Introduction to Sustainability

Internship - 4 weeks

 

Objectives

This 4-week program offers participants a broad introduction to biological research and conservation in the tropics. Our teaching and learning approach is both academic and hands-on. After receiving training in basic field skills, interns will participate directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the help of our academic faculty, interns will also navigate tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills. This is an excellent opportunity to explore an exciting variety of potential career paths in biology and conservation under the guidance of experts in those fields.

Details

Length: 4 weeks

Dates (2018):

Session I: Apr 2 - Apr 27

Session II: Apr 30 - May 25

Session III: May 28 - Jun 22

Session IV: Jun 25 - Jul 20

Session V: Jul 23 - Aug 17

Session VI: Aug 20 - Sep 14

Session VII: Sep 17 - Oct 12

Session VIII: Oct 15 - Nov 9

Session IX: Nov 12 - Dec 7

Application Deadlines:

Session I: Mar 9

Session II: Apr 6

Session III: May 4

Session IV: Jun 1

Session V: Jun 29

Session VI: Jul 27

Session VII: Aug 24

Session VIII: Sep 21

Session IX: Oct 19

Program Fees:

Per week: $325

Total fees: $1,300 (4 weeks)

 

2. Advanced Sustainability

Internship - 8 weeks

Details

Length: 8 weeks

Dates (2018):

Session I: Apr 2 - May 25

Session II: Apr 30 - Jun 22

Session III: May 28 - Jul 20

Session IV: Jun 25 - Aug 17

Session V: Jul 23 - Sep 14

Session VI: Aug 20 - Oct 12

Session VII: Sep 17 - Nov 9

Session VIII: Oct 15 - Dec 7

Application Deadlines:

Session I: Mar 9

Session II: Apr 6

Session III: May 4

Session IV: Jun 1

Session V: Jun 29

Session VI: Jul 27

Session VII: Aug 24

Session VIII: Sep 21

Program Fees:

Per week: $275

Total fees: $2,200 (8 weeks)

Objectives

This 8-week program offers participants a more in-depth survey of biological research and conservation in the tropics. Interns will learn by participating directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the guidance of our academic faculty, interns will also navigate tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills.

Independent Research Project

 

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Advanced Sustainability Internship Program will have the added opportunity to develop an Independent Research Project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics.

Read more about the Independent Research Project, including past intern projects and possible future internship research topics here.

 

3. Academic Quarter

Internship - 12 weeks

Details

Details

Length: 12 weeks

Dates (2018):

Session I: Apr 2 - Jun 22

Session II: Apr 30 - Jul 20

Session III: May 28 - Aug 17

Session IV: Jun 25 - Sep 14

Session V: Sep 17 - Dec 7

Application Deadlines:

Session I: Mar 9

Session II: Apr 6

Session III: May 4

Session IV: Jun 1

Session V: Aug 24

Program Fees:

Per week: $250

Total fees: $3,000 (12 weeks)

Objectives

This 12-week program offers participants the most thorough exploration of biological research and conservation in the tropics. Interns will learn by participating directly in scientific research and applied conservation projects that span our two focal areas: biological research and monitoring and sustainable tropical agriculture. With the guidance of our academic faculty, interns will also explore topics tropical biology and conservation science through lectures and weekly reading discussions covering articles drawn from the primary scientific literature. All interns maintain a field journal, including daily entries that aim to synthesize their learning experiences and sharpen their observational skills.

 

Independent Research Project

As well as the activities listed above, participants in the Academic Quarter Internship Program will have the added opportunity to develop a detailed Independent Research Project on a topic of their choosing, under the supervision of our academic faculty. Topics may also be assigned in an area of our faculty’s academic expertise, including wildlife biology and ecology, entomology, botany, natural history, sustainable agriculture, and community development. This optional project will provide participants with a more thorough insight into the process of scientific discovery and conservation in the tropics. The Academic Quarter Internship Program is ideal for those intending to complete an academic thesis, particularly at the undergraduate level (i.e., capstone).

Read more about the Independent Research Project, including past intern projects and possible future internship research topics here.

Questions?

Full Program Description

Frequently Asked Questions

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